Microsoft yesterday revealed its new Web based security management console for Microsoft’s Forefront and and Antigen enterprise messaging security software:
Microsoft today unveiled the new Forefront Server Security Management Console, a centralized, Web-based management solution for onsite or remote administration of Microsoft messaging and collaboration security solutions.
It’s a Web-based tool that helps businesses centrally manage, configure, report on and update multiple deployments of Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Forefront Security for SharePoint, as well as Microsoft Antigen products.
The above is from a Q&A with Margaret Arakawa, senior director of Security & Access Product Marketing at Microsoft, who offers more about Microsoft’s Forefront products by following the link including a mention of the upcoming “Stirling,” a unified security offering announced in June:
Some new Microsoft betas this week (so far):
Microsoft Launches Forefront Security for SharePoint Beta:
Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 28) is launching the public beta of Forefront Security for SharePoint® (http://www.microsoft.com/forefront). This latest release of Microsoft® Forefront security products for businesses is based on Antigen for SharePoint Server, the multi-engine security solution acquired by Microsoft as part of the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.
Forefront Security for SharePoint is optimized to provide advanced protection for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows® SharePoint Services 3.0. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies facilitate easy collaboration across an organization, connecting people, processes and systems within and beyond organizational boundaries. Forefront Security for SharePoint uses the combined power of multiple antivirus engines from leading security providers to protect against viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content.
While we’re on the subject, Microsoft was also touting Gartner’s glowing assessment of their email security offerings including including Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.
Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon. It’s the replacement in Vista of ActiveSynch for synching up mobile devices with a Vista machine. It was AWOL in Vista RC1.
Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 was released. The scripting tool (codenamed “Monad”) for system administration tasks is expected to ship in the 4th quarter and/or embedded in Exchange 2007 when it ships.
The Windows Live Writer blogging tool beta got an update which fixed a number of problems in the original beta released in August.
Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 26) released a beta developer kit for the Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework, a new development platform for use with devices that are typically constrained by cost, memory, processor and/or power consumption. Announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the .NET Micro Framework broad beta extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio® toolset into a class of the smallest of devices.
The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft.
The framework currently provides the software platform for all Smart Watches for MSN Direct. Additionally, the company plans to include it in Windows Vista SideShow displays and in an upcoming version of Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, the statements say.
Microsoft Corp. today announced availability of the public betas of Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 and the new Forefront Security for Exchange Server. Exchange Server 2007 builds on the leading e-mail, messaging and calendaring server with new features for improved security, remote and mobile access, compliance management, and unified messaging. Forefront Security for Exchange Server helps provide advanced protection against viruses, worms and spam, and is the first product available under the recently announced Microsoft Forefront brand for business security products.
Exchange Server 2007 beta 2 is available for download here, and Forefront Security for Exchange Server beta can be downloaded here.
General availability for Exchange Server 2007 and Forefront Security for Exchange Server is scheduled for late 2006 or early 2007. Both products will be available through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing program and worldwide partner channel. Forefront Security for Exchange Server will be available as a stand-alone product or as part of the Exchange Enterprise Client Access License package.
The release and the Microsoft home pages for Exchange Server 2007 and Forefront have more information on the enhancements in the products themselves, but recall that Exchange 2007 will be x64 (i.e. 64-bit) only, although as with beta 1, there’s a 32-bit version of beta 2 for “feature evaluation”. Per the beta system requirements, the beta of Forefront Security for Exchange is only 64-bit. Also recall that Forefront is the new branding for Microsoft enterprise security products which in this case is being applied to what was an Antigen product acquired from Sybari.
There was so much product news at last week’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston that I gave rather short shrift to some of the more conventional partner promotional activities. Paul F. Roberts and China Martens at InfoWorld:
But with the release of Office 2007 delayed and company founder Bill Gates saying Vista, the next version of Windows, is only “80 percent” guaranteed for its January 2007 release, Microsoft needed to bring more than just good vibes to Beantown. As it turned out, Ballmer brought both carrot and stick: new pricing programs and incentives for partners in one hand and vague threats for those who sell non-Microsoft products in the other.
For example, SSA (Security Software Advisor) is a new program that provides considerable cash incentives to partners that deploy Microsoft security products such as the Forefront family of client and server security products, ISA Server, and Antigen messaging security products. To promote its security wares, Microsoft is promising to “skill up” existing partners on security and is permitting certifications from organizations such as ISC2 and ISACA to satisfy its Security Partner Competency, said Steve Brown, director of product management for security, access, and solutions at Microsoft.
Microsoft is also dangling cash, offering partners bonuses of as much as 20 percent of the total sales of its security products, and 30 percent in the next seven months, Brown said.
But Microsoft is also taking a tougher line with its partners and resellers, as Ballmer made clear in his keynote. Partners, he said, have a choice to work with Microsoft or its competitors.
“Some of these choices will probably be less comfortable than some of the other choices that we present you with from time to time,” Ballmer said.
No real details on the “stick,” but there were more carrots including a branch office infrastructure promotion, an updated SQL Server competitive migration program, revised terms for reselling Microsoft systems management software, plus a little boosterism of Windows Vista for the ISVs in the crowd.
While all this is typical partner program activity, Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch picked up on some interesting comments from Steve Ballmer:
Microsoft partners won’t see much, if any, new revenues from Microsoft’s growing Live family of services in the next year. But throughout the coming decade, the Live tide will transform the kinds of products and services that Microsoft and its partners will be selling, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
A brave vision, for sure, but what’s really in it for the partners?
On the Live side of the house, Ballmer said Microsoft would continue to build out new services on the search, content, collaboration, communications and business services fronts.
“That transition will require that we bring you – our partner community – with us,” Ballmer said. “There will be services we host and services you host. Some services sold by you on commission basis. There will be value add around hosted services.”
Among the new Live opportunities Microsoft forsees for partners are AdCenter referrals, Live subscription referrals, hosted managed services and applications, reselling Live subscriptions and hosted solutions and customization of on-premise, hosted and Live solutions, Ballmer told attendees.
Let’s run ‘em down:
- AdCenter referrals: If this is just a reference to a standard referral program, there’s not much there. However, there are businesses today that help Google AdWords customers optimize their buys and there isn’t any reason why there wouldn’t be the same opportunity for AdCenter. That’s more an ad agency or media buyer function than the usual partner fare.
- Live Subscription referrals and reselling Live subscriptions: This sounds pretty nebulous for the consumer space since Windows Live is mostly free and Xbox Live is more retail fodder than a partner business. I guess there’s some spare change in Office Live referrals, but it’s hard to see much of a continuing revenue stream. There’s likely more cash in a referral for the Microsoft hosted Live Dynamics CRM that Ballmer announced, but it’s hard to see how it could compare with the revenue from a VAR installation of regular Dynamics CRM.
- Hosted managed services and applications: Since that same Microsoft hosted Live Dynamics CRM announcement blew partners who were already hosting Dynamics out of the water, this hardly seems enticing.
- Hosted solutions and customization of on-premise, hosted and Live solutions: Now we’re talking real partner business. Partners who build and/or install custom solutions can now use Live services as infrastructure instead of today’s installation on a customer owned server. So far, Live Dynamics CRM is the only one to work with though.
To net it out, if Ballmer wasn’t just blowing smoke, there must be a slew of Microsoft hosted middleware on the way and partners will have to expand their value add beyond mere provisioning of Microsoft based infrastructure. Fair enough, but where does this fit in today’s troika of Windows, Office, and Xbox Live? The question wasn’t answered for Microsoft Live Dynamics CRM which seems to sit out on its own. but maybe there’s a Microsoft Business Solutions Live coming?